The latest brand to be looked at as part of just-auto’s overview of the Volkswagen Group’s passenger car divisions is Audi. This follows features on VW, Škoda, SEAT, Bugatti, Bentley and Lamborghini. After a second Audi chapter (SUVs and electrified models), the series will reach its conclusion with a focus on Porsche.
“Despite the current challenges in some European markets we have achieved the highest November sales worldwide ever,” said Bram Schot, Audi AG’s board member for Sales and Marketing. Speaking recently, he added, “We aim to confirm the positive trend in December and are confident of slightly exceeding 2016 sales in the year as a whole.”
There is much in the way of new product soon to be released, with the next generation A6 L to be a potentially big seller in the PRC.
If Audi does in fact improve on its sales for the prior year, it should set the company up for an even better 2018, provided there are no major downturns in its main markets of China, Germany, the UK and the USA. There is certainly much in the way of new product soon to be released, with the next generation A6 L to be a potentially big seller in the PRC.
It isn’t just a new A6 and A7 which will be the big launches in 2018: more SUVs will be added to a line-up which could eventually encompass a range which stretches from a Q1 all the way to a Q9. There will be more on this in the next report, but here below we look at sedans, hatchbacks, Sportbacks, Avants Coupes and Cabriolets, including the planned expansion of the high margin RS line.
B segment – and potentially, A segment too?
The A1 is a rival for BMW’s Mini. Both three-door hatchback (A1) and five-door hatchback (A1 Sportback) bodies are available.
The company has the capacity to build 100,000+ A1-based vehicles at its Forest plant on the outskirts of Brussels. Production started there in May 2010.
Mexico is the car’s only North American market. Audi withholds other models from the US and Canada, due mainly to their size or body style. That includes the Q2, RS 3 Sportback, A4 Avant, RS 4 Avant, A6 allroad and RS 6 Avant.
In December 2011, Audi announced a limited edition car, the A1 quattro. This was the first A1 to have all-wheel drive. The company built 333 units of the model, all of them left-hand drive. The A1 quattro’s engine was a 188kW 2.0-litre turbo. This car was the forerunner of the S1 and S1 Sportback. These two had their world premieres at the Geneva motor show in March 2014. They both have all-wheel drive and are powered by a 170kW (231hp) 2.0 TFSI engine.
A facelifted A1 was announced in November 2014. There were also new 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol and 1.4-litre three-cylinder diesel engines, the same ones which had already been available in the VW Polo. The S1 and S1 Sportback retained their engine. The cars had their public debuts at the Brussels motor show in January 2015.
Some sources believe the names of the A1 and S1 successors will be A2 and S2, the idea being that new, smaller models would then follow, to be called A1 and S1.
There is uncertainty over how Audi will replace the A1 and S1. Some sources believe the names of the successors will be A2 and S2, the idea being that new, smaller models would then follow, to be called A1 and S1. These would reportedly be based on an adaptation of the platform used by the Volkswagen up!, SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo. New versions of these A segment cars are due out in 2019, roughly 6-9 months after the arrival of the A1 and S1 replacements.
In January 2016, Audi issued a press release stating that production of the A1 would be moving from Belgium to SEAT’s Martorell plant in Spain. It should be built on the same line as the SEAT Ibiza, which was the first vehicle for the Volkswagen Group’s MQB A0 architecture. The three-door A1 and S1 might be discontinued, i.e. Audi may choose to only launch successors for the five-door Sportbacks.
The third generation A3 had its global debut in three-door form at the Geneva motor show in March 2012. The A3 Sportback (five-door) followed six months later at the Paris show. The A3 has a 2,601mm wheelbase, while the A3 Sportback and A3 Sedan share their longer wheelbases with the seventh generation Golf and third generation SEAT León.
The four-door car had its world premiere at AutoShanghai in April 2013. It is mainly for China, the Americas, Europe and Australia. Audi Hungaria began building it in June 2013.
The A3 Sedan, which was previewed by a concept at the Geneva motor show in March 2011, is also built in China. FAW Volkswagen’s Foshan plant is the production location for the A3 as well as the seventh generation VW Golf. Five-door hatchback production commenced in March 2014, with the four-door sedan following later in the year. The latter had its motor show debut in Beijing in April 2014.
The A3 was the first vehicle on Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture.
The A3 was the first vehicle on Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture.
The current A3 Cabriolet had its world premiere at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2013. It didn’t reach North America until late 2014. A3 cabrio production commenced at Audi Hungaria’s Gyor plant in October 2013 but European sales did not commence until the northern Spring of 2014.
The A3 went on sale in Germany and other European markets in August 2012, one month ahead of its five-door rival, the third generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The A3 Sportback was added in the first quarter of 2013.
In September 2013, Audi stated that Volkswagen’s São José dos Pinhais plant in Curitiba would build the A3 Sedan, to be followed by the Q3, in 2015. Audi first entered Brazil in 1999, when it started building the A3 at the same plant. But Audi stopped its assembly line there in 2006. Brazilian build of a special version, the A3 Sedan 1.4 TFSI Flex, commenced in October 2015.
The A3 sedan went into production in India in July 2014. This was the first Audi model to be made in India before its local launch – others were initially fully imported.
Facelifted versions of the A3 range were announced in April 2016.
The current generation S3 (three-door) had its world premiere at the Paris motor show in September 2012. The S3 Sportback was first seen at the Geneva show in March 2013. The S3 Sedan then premiered at the Shanghai show the following month.
All S3s have standard quattro all-wheel drive and are powered by a turbocharged 1,984cc four-cylinder unit. This produces more power than its predecessor: 221kW (300hp). A special 206kW version of the S3 engine was developed for hot climates, such as Australia, South Africa and Persian Gulf states. As part of running changes for the 2015 model year, this engine’s power rose to 210kW.
The S3 went on sale across Europe from early 2013. The S3 Sportback went on sale in Germany in August 2013 and in the UK the following month. The S3 Sedan went on sale in Europe from late 2013 and in the UK from early 2014. Cars for the US followed in late 2014 for that market’s 2015 model year.
Hatchback A3s are built at Ingolstadt, while sedans for North America and Europe come from Györ in Hungary. Audi Hungaria also builds the S3 Cabriolet.
Hatchback versions of the A3 are built at Ingolstadt, while sedans for North America and Europe come from Györ in Hungary. Audi Hungaria also builds the S3 Cabriolet.
A facelifted S3 range was announced by Audi in April 2016. As well as the styling update, power rose by 7kW/10hp to 228kW/310hp. Torque is now 400Nm. North America’s 2017 model year S3 gained the facelift. The next S3 is due for release in late 2019.
The RS 3 Sportback had its world premiere at the 2015 Geneva motor show. It was originally powered by a turbocharged five-cylinder engine that produced 270kW (367PS). An RS 3 Sedan debuted at the Paris motor show in September 2016. The four-door car was added to Audi of America’s 2018 model year range during the fourth quarter of 2017. There is no RS 3 Cabriolet.
A facelifted and more powerful RS 3 had its world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March 2017. The latest 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine produces 294kW (400PS) and is claimed to be 26kg lighter than the 270kW units thanks to an aluminium crankcase. Maximum torque is 480Nm. An S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard.
Orders for the RS 3 Sportback and the RS 3 Sedan were accepted in Europe from April 2017 under the “Audi Sport” label; the market launch followed in August 2017.
There won’t be mid-cycle facelifts for the RS 3s; instead they will be replaced in 2020 by a new RS 3 Sportback and RS 3 Sedan which use an update of the existing MQB A/B platform.
The next generation A3 Sportback (five-door) is expected to enter production in 2019.
The next generation A3 Sportback (five-door) is expected to enter production in 2019. It will be followed soon after by the sedan and cabriolet. The architecture will be MQB A/B. Audi is understood to have cancelled development of an A3 (three-door) due to cost cutting and slow sales of the current car.
The current generation A4 and S4 are based on the Volkswagen Group’s MLB Evo architecture. The sedan, Avant and allroad were announced in June 2015 with all three making their public debuts at the Frankfurt IAA three months later. The S4 sedan and Avant also premiered at the Frankfurt show. They are powered by what was a new engine, a 260kW (354PS) turbocharged 3.0-litre V6. Torque is 500Nm.
The standard wheelbase sedan is 41mm longer, 32mm wider and 13mm lower than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Average weight is said to be 120kg less than the previous A4 and much of that comes from the use of aluminium (roof) and hot-formed steel for the body structure.
The Avant has 505 litres of boot space. This is not only a gain of 15 cubic litres but ten and fifteen more than the 3 Series Touring and C-Class Estate respectively). This rises to 1,510 litres when the rear seats are folded. All Avants have an electric luggage compartment cover and tailgate.
The A4 and A4 Avant were in European market dealerships for customer deliveries from November 2015, followed by the S4 and S4 Avant four months later.
The next generation A4, A4 L and S4 are scheduled to enter production from 2022.
China’s locally built long-wheelbase (2,908mm compared to 2,820mm) A4 L went on sale in September 2016. Both standard and LWB cars are due for a mid-life facelift in 2019. The next generation A4, A4 L and S4 are scheduled to enter production from 2022. These will have a fresh platform.
There is also an RS 4. This is available only as an Avant. This car was revealed earlier in the lifecycle of the original model (the A4 Avant) than was the case with previous generations.
The RS 4 Avant had its world debut at the Frankfurt IAA in September 2017. It is powered by a biturbo 331kW (450hp) and 600Nm 2.9 TFSI engine. It can be easily identified compared to the A4 Avant and S4 Avant as the wheel arches are 30mm wider.
This model will be in German dealerships from later in January, sales having commenced in November. A facelift is scheduled for 2019 and a new RS 4 for 2022.
We are still two years away from a facelift for the second generation A5 Coupé and S5 Coupé. These were in European dealerships from October 2016. The A5 Sportback and S5 Sportback were announced to the media in September 2016, all four cars having their world premieres later that month at the Paris motor show.
The A5 Cabriolet and S5 Cabriolet would be added to the line-up from March 2017, it was announced in November 2016. These cars had their world premieres at the Detroit auto show in January 2017. The US importer is selling the A5 Sportback for the first time. The A5 series is based on the A4.
There is a wide variety of engines and in addition to a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox (S tronic), for the first time an eight-speed torque converter (tiptonic) automatic is also available.
The future A5 and S5 should hit the market in the third quarter of 2024.
Mid-life styling changes will likely be revealed at a motor show in 2020 – possibly Geneva – and the future A5 and S5 should hit the market in the third quarter of 2024.
The second generation RS 5 premiered as a coupé. This was in March 2017 at the Geneva motor show. The first cars were with buyers three months later. An RS 5 Cabriolet will follow later in 2018 and possibly, an RS 5 Sportback.
The engine in the previous RS 5 was a 4.2-litre V8 but this was replaced by a 2.9 TFSI biturbo V6. It produces the same 331kW (450hp) and delivers 600Nm (442.5 lb-ft) of torque. All-wheel drive is standard.
Audi is expected to facelift all versions of the RS 5 in late 2020. The next generation RS 5 series will gain a fresh platform when these cars appear in early 2024.
The current generation A6, which will soon be replaced, went on sale in Europe from April 2011, first as a sedan. The A6 Avant, followed from July 2011.
China is the largest national market for the car. The A6 L, the special long wheelbase A6 that is built and sold there, is manufactured at the FAW Volkswagen joint venture’s Changchun plant. It had its debut at the Beijing motor show in April 2012.
A facelifted A6 range premiered at the Paris motor show in October 2014. In North America, the facelift was new for the 2016 model year. A second facelift was announced in April 2016. North America’s 2017 model year A6 sedan had various updates.
AU584, the future A6, will be revealed later in 2018.
AU584, the future A6, will be revealed later in 2018, possibly as early as the Detroit auto show, although Geneva or Beijing are other possibilities. It will have the same MLB Evo platform as the A4 and A7 Sportback.
The current S6, a high performance version of the Audi A6, ditched the heavy 5.2-litre V10 from the old-shape model in favour of a then-new 420hp 4.0-litre biturbo V8 engine. The sedan and Avant had their world premieres at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2011. These cars are slightly longer than the A6 thanks to a unique grille and bumpers, while the badging says ‘S6 V8 T’.
A facelifted S6 premiered at the Paris motor show in October 2014. A second facelift was announced in April 2016.
The next S6 should be revealed by mid-year, alongside the future A6. It is expected to continue the recent tradition of losing two cylinders with every new generation, the V8 being dropped in favour of a V6.
The RS 6 is a high performance estate, based on the A6 Avant. The current generation model was announced in December 2012. It is powered by a 412kW (560hp) turbocharged 3,993c V8. The standard transmission is an eight-speed tiptronic automatic. This was the first Audi RS vehicle to have air suspension. This automatically lowers the car’s body by 20mm.
A facelifted RS 6 Avant had its world premiere at the Paris motor show in October 2014. A second facelift for the RS 6 was announced in April 2016.
An additional, more powerful variant was announced in October 2015. The RS 6 Avant performance is powered by a 445kW (605hp) version of the existing 4.0-litre V8. Torque is 750Nm. An RS 7 Sportback performance also went on sale at the same time: see below.
A new RS 6 is imminent. It should be on sale worldwide from the second half of this year.
A new RS 6 is imminent. It should be on sale worldwide from the second half of this year, following a motor show debut in the US, Europe or China.
The second generation A7 Sportback was revealed to the media in October (see image above). The 4,969mm long car is again a five-door hatchback, although curiously, Audi calls it a four-door coupe. An integrated spoiler extends automatically from the edge of the tailgate at 120km/h (75mph). A flat light strip joins the rear lights and the tail lights are made up of 13 vertical segments.
Inside, a new MMI system replaces the rotary pushbutton and the conventional buttons and controls of the previous model with two large, high-resolution touch displays. The driver controls the infotainment system from the upper display. Mounted on the asymmetric console of the centre tunnel, the lower display provides access to the climate control system, comfort functions and text input.
In terms of dynamics, four-wheel steering is new, and this both reduces the turning circle and adds stability at high speeds.
All engines come standard with a mild hybrid system (MHEV). With the two V6s, this uses a 48-volt primary electrical system. A belt alternator starter (BAS) works together with a lithium-ion battery and achieves a recuperation performance of up to 12kW when braking.
The start-stop function now activates at 22km/h. In combination with the standard front camera, the engine is restarted predictively while at a standstill as soon as vehicle ahead begins to move.
The first engine is a 3.0-litre TFSI. This turbo petrol V6 produces 250kW (340hp) and 500Nm (368.8 lb-ft). It is paired with a seven-speed S tronic and quattro all-wheel drive. Additional six- and four-cylinder engines, both gasoline and diesel, will follow shortly after the start of production.
The luggage compartment has a base capacity of 535 litres (18.9 cu ft). This increases to 1,390 (49.1 cu ft) with the rear seats folded.
Audi is expected to launch the third generation A7 in 2025.
Audi is expected to facelift the A7 in the third quarter of 2021 and launch the third generation model in 2025.
The RS 7 Sportback is still in production but it will soon be phased out. This five-door hatchback had its global debut at the Detroit auto show in January 2013. It is powered by the same 412kW (560hp) turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 as features in the RS 6 Avant. It went on sale in Germany and other European markets from August 2013.
A facelifted model was announced in May 2014. There were no changes to power output. This was North America’s 2015MY car. The updated model had its worldwide public debut at the Moscow motor show in August 2014. A second facelift was announced in April 2016.
An additional, more powerful version of the RS 7 Sportback was announced in October 2015. It is powered by a 445kW (605hp) version of the existing 4.0-litre V8. Torque rose to 750Nm. The RS 7 Sportback performance had its world premiere at the LA auto show in November 2015.
The next RS 7 Sportback is due to be revealed at a motor show later in 2018. Production will likely commence from the second half of the year. Like the new A7 and S7, it will be based on MLB Evo, which is an update of the current car’s platform.
The latest A8, A8 L and S8 use a new ASF (Audi Space Frame) platform, known as D5.
The latest A8, A8 L and S8 use a new ASF (Audi Space Frame) platform, known as D5. The A8 and A8 L were revealed to the media at an event in Barcelona in July 2017. The cars’ motor show debuts took place two months later at the Frankfurt IAA.
The future Audi A9 would also be on this architecture. D5 is a mix of aluminium, steel, magnesium and carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP). A 17 May 2017 just-auto news report, quoting steel producer ArcelorMittal, the body structure for the D5 amounts to a ‘switch back to steel’ from aluminium.
Bernd Mlekusch, head of the Audi Leichtbauzentrum, or Lightweight Construction Centre, said: “There will be no cars made of aluminium alone in the future. Press hardened steels (PHS) will play a special role in this development. PHS grades are at the core of a car’s occupant cell, which protects the driver and passengers in case of a collision. If you compare the stiffness-weight ratio, PHS is currently ahead of aluminium.”
Audi says the amount of aluminium in the A8’s body has dropped to 58 per cent from 92 per cent for the previous model. There are several reasons for this, even though this means that the bodyshell is now heavier. The back of the rear seat and the parcel shelf are carbon fibre in an effort to claw back some weight savings, but the car is now stronger compared to the former A8. Also, in the A8 e-tron (PHEV) variant, the battery and occupants’ cell needed to be protected with high-strength, hot-formed steel.
Every A8 is fitted with a mild hybrid system. That also includes a 48V lithium ion battery and a belt-driven alternator/starter. Every A8 also has all-wheel drive, and four-wheel steering also features in certain variants.
Volkswagen revealed a new W12 at May 2015’s Vienna Motor Symposium. In this engine, two combustion methods which had previously been used in parallel – Audi’s FSI direct injection and Bentley’s TMPI multi-point injection – are combined. The scope of development also included cylinder bores with APS coating, an oil circuit suitable for off-road use with a switchable oil pump, a cooling system with integrated temperature management, dual fuel injection with high pressure direct and low pressure manifold injection, twin-scroll biturbo charging, individual cylinder bank deactivation (on the left in the direction of travel), engine management with two controllers as well as a start/stop system that reduces fuel consumption and emissions. Adaptive engine suspension with hydraulic basic damping, which uses electromagnetic actuators to counteract vibrations induced by the engine with phase-shifted counter-vibrations also features.
Volkswagen claims its latest W12 TSI is most economical twelve-cylinder engine in the luxury car segment with CO2 emissions of less than 250g/km in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). Power is quoted as being 447 kW/608 PS (6,000 rpm) and maximum torque of 900Nm (1,500 – 4,500 rpm).
The A8 also features Level 3 autonomous drive.
The A8 also features Level 3 autonomous drive. According to the SAE’s definition of the five levels, this one is ‘Conditional Automation’. In the A8, the driver is able to take his or her eyes off the road leaving the car to drive on its own in traffic but must be prepared to regain control of the car. Audi has worked with Delphi on this technology. Audi gradually brought certain piloted driving functions such as parking pilot, garage pilot and traffic jam pilot into production with the A8.
The firm demonstrated a prototype of an autonomous RS 7 at the Hockenheimring racing track in October 2014. It completed a circuit with no driver at the wheel.
The A8 and A8 L are built at Audi’s Neckarsulm manufacturing complex. They went on sale in Germany during November 2017. The starting price for the A8 is EUR 90,600, with the A8 L starting at EUR 94,100. Audi of America’s dealers did not commence deliveries until March 2018.
In August 2017, Audi announced an illogical and complex badging system for some of its cars. The A8 was the first. Under this regime, the model name gained two numbers which are somehow supposed to convey a power output (which they don’t). Audi of America decided that it would not use this confusing system.
The A9 Coupe is to be pitched at a higher pricing level than the A8 sedan upon which it is based. The car would come in two body styles and so offer rivals for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet. There may also be an S9 derivative of each.
A preview of the future A9 Coupe was exhibited at November 2014’s LA auto show.
A preview of the A9 Coupe was exhibited at November 2014’s LA auto show. This was the Audi prologue concept. There was a second concept, the Prologue Avant, at the Geneva show four months later. The prologue allroad then appeared at the Shanghai show in April 2015. The A9 Coupe and A9 Cabriolet should be introduced in late 2018 and mid-2019 respectively.
The third generation TT uses the same MQB architecture as the Audi A3 and VW Golf. In October 2013, a media release concerning the start of A3 Cabriolet production named Györ as the plant to build the then next generation TT and TTS. As well as replacements for the hatchback and convertible, there had at one time been suggestions that there would also be a crossover derivative. This followed the debut of the TT offroad concept at April 2014’s Beijing motor show. It was similarly sized to the Q3 but 80mm lower.
The hatchback TT and TTS had their global debuts at the Geneva motor show in March 2014. As expected, the styling is similar to that of the first two generations. As for details, the four rings moved from the grille on the previous model, to the bonnet, the headlights can be optionally ordered in LED or Matrix LED form, all variants with the exception of the TTS have two exhaust outlets (like all Audi S cars, the TTS has four), the A/C controls are integrated into the dashboard vents, and the central MMI monitor is gone (the SatNav and other visual displays are built into a switchable instrument panel).
The hatchbacks went on sale across Europe from the fourth quarter of 2014, with the convertible following in early 2015. The latter had its global debut at October 2014’s Paris motor show with production at the Hungarian factory commencing the following month.
Webasto-Edscha is the supplier of the open-top TT’s roof. Radio reception capacity is integrated into the roof system, without an additional antenna on the car body. When the top is closed, an antenna embedded in the insulation provides reception, while the same is guaranteed via the access flaps when the roof is open.
A 132kW (180PS) 1.8-litre TT was announced for the German market and elsewhere in April 2015. This was a new base variant.
The TT RS had its world premiere in both body styles at the Beijing motor show in April 2016. Sales commenced from September 2016. There is no manual gearbox. Instead, the Volkswagen Group’s DQ500 dual clutch transmission is standard, and badged as an S tronic. The TT RS is powered by a 194kW (400hp) 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo engine.
Audi may discontinue the TT in 2021: a fourth generation model seems unlikely.
A facelifted TT is likely to be a world debut at the Geneva motor show. That should be the final change for the current model.
As the third generation car has not been a big seller, Audi may discontinue the TT in 2021: a fourth generation model seems unlikely. The effective successor will probably be an additional SUV as well as the next generation A5/S5/RS 5 Coupe and Cabriolet.
The second generation R8 uses the same MSS architecture as the Lamborghini Huracan. Its world premiere was at the Geneva motor show in March 2015, sales commencing from the final quarter of that year.
A 5.2-litre V10 was the first engine to be announced and there are two outputs. As was the case with manual transmission, minimal demand for the first generation V8 cars means they were not replaced. However, a turbocharged five-cylinder or V6 engine should become available as the effective replacement for the 4.2-litre V8.
The R8 Spyder V10 had its world premiere at the New York auto show in March 2016. The R8 Spyder V10 plus was announced to the media in June 2017, had its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed during the following month, and the first cars were delivered in August 2017.
A fully-electric R8 e-tron due at one point in 2019 is now said to have been cancelled. A mid-cycle mild facelift is due in early 2020.
The model name of R9 or R10 has been suggested for Audi’s future hypercar.
The third generation R8 due out in 2023 may use a version of the 992 Porsche 911’s architecture.
The former Audi Sport CEO Stephan Winkelmann told the media in August 2017 that the division may release a hypercar in the 2020s. Speaking at one of the events which are part of the annual Monterey Week in California, he reportedly stated that new and additional RS models were Audi’s priority, but that he would also like to see a range topping model in the line-up above the R8.
The model name of R9 or R10 has been suggested for Audi’s future hypercar. Production in the hundreds per annum would take place in Germany at Audi Böllinger Höfe near Neckarsulm. This is where the R8 is made. Such a car is probably as far off as 2023.
Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.
Future product program intelligence
Additional data on vehicle lifetime and future product plans, such as code names, production plants and expected annual build, are available in PLDB from QUBE.